Ohlone College President's Office
State of the College Address - Fall 2005
Douglas M. Treadway
Ohlone Community College District
Presented August 12, 2005.
- Introduction of New Employees
- Goals and Accomplishments
- New Prospects
- Concluding Remarks
On Friday, July 22, Dan Dzoan, an Ohlone College summer student intern at NASA Ames, was part of a 5 person team working with the Senior Flight Test Engineer who completed in just 5 hours an important wind tunnel test needed before the space shuttle could safely launch. They acquired drag data for frozen water droplets that accumulate on the space shuttle orbiter during launch assent. Our student enjoyed the opportunity to actually play a part in the success of the shuttle mission.
I am proud to serve as the president of Ohlone College where in partnerships with other organizations we provide relevant and exciting educational opportunities for our students. This morning I will include in my comments references to many outstanding accomplishments of our students and college staff this past year. I will also present an overview of what lies ahead for the 2005-06 academic year.
I am pleased to report that the state of the Ohlone Community College District is one of sound fiscal condition and strong and measured progress toward our five year goals. This report is organized around each of the goal statements.
Goal 1 - Promote appreciation for and understanding of diverse races and culture by expanding the diversity of college personnel, international education offerings and exchanges, cross-cultural curricula, and ethnic/cultural events.
One of the most important new initiatives this past year was the creation of the World Forum. The first speaker dealt with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This summer I read the book the Kite Runner which personalized many of the dynamics of the plight of people of Afghanistan that our speaker referenced. Part of the book, which has been on the national best seller list for some time, takes place here in Fremont and one of the characters is identified as an Ohlone College student. Even though it’s fiction, I found the writing enlightening, especially given the significant Afghan community that we serve here in Fremont.
The forum on China raised awareness of the interdependence of our local economy and that of China. In another book I read this summer, Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat, he writes:
The convergence of technology and events that allowed India and China to become critical in the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, is creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world’s two biggest nations and is giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization.
Two Ohlone College delegations traveled last year to China. A delegation led by Jim Wright and including Xisheng Fang, Alison Hill and Garrett Yee set up an exchange agreement with Taizhou City and their local university. A faculty delegation including Vicki Curtis, Cynthia Katona, Connie Olsen, Chris Bolt and Vern Puimarta traveled there in the spring and followed up with Web-based tutorials and assistance to the Taizhou English instructional program.
A university in South Korea awarded full expense scholarships to Ohlone students for study in that country Spring semester. Ohlone was awarded 3 out of a total of 5 California Community College System scholarships for this particular exchange program. More Ohlone students are participating this fall.
ASOC sponsored another very successful and expanded Unity Week and staff in the student services division conducted outreach programs to our local Latino population. We have already seen gains in admissions of Hispanic students since these efforts began in earnest last Fall. A new program known as the Puente Project is now underway with leadership from Brenda Arteaga and Tracy Virgil. This program will follow a successful cohort model first developed at UC Berkeley.
Ohlone staff worked with Ramiko Nozalu, a graduate of our program and President of the Japanese ASL Signers Society, in a partnership that recently received a grant from the Nippon Foundation to send Japanese Deaf students to Ohlone.
This summer, Dennis Keller led the Ohlone Chamber Singers on a summer concert tour of Eastern Europe. Since I was a member of the group, I can attest first-hand to the value to our students of this international experience. And what a special joy it was to sing in the old cathedrals of Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany and to be so warmly received by the peoples of those countries. Another important activity in support of our internationalization goal was the revamping of our international student admissions process, including adjusting the TOEFL score requirement and subscribing to an international recruitment internet service.
Goal 2 - Develop across the curriculum the Learning College Model, utilizing methods and technologies that hold the most promise for improving student course and program completion success rates.
Ohlone College has been awarded a federal Title III grant that will be funded for the next 5 years. Martha Brown will serve as project director and Deb Parziale Activity Coordinator. With the grant assistance we will adopt more active and collaborative learning methods, embed and distribute technology throughout the curriculum, foster a culture of continuous improvement in all programs and services, and provide multiple scheduling and delivery systems for student access to learning opportunities. Marilena Tamburello, Faculty development coordinator, and member of the Learning College Task Force, co-chaired by Jim Wright, Deanna Walston and Deb Parziale, reported on a number of new faculty initiatives within our Learning College Model. I would like to share just a sampling with you:
Pilar Lewis (Multimedia) teaches students how to work on multimedia projects in a professional environment. She and her students worked on a multimedia project for the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda . They also worked with the Ohlone TV station to create a logo and animations for student news programs as a class project.
Perri Gallagher (English) has students publish a “course book” using strategies from web-enhanced classes that is proving valuable for students to have experience of taking ownership of their learning and writing.
Jim McManus ((Music) integrates the lecture method with hands on computer use as students bring electronic note taking devices to classroom.
Vicki Curtis (ESL) uses electronic learning portfolio to assess language acquisition through portfolio documentation of learning outcomes.
Yvette Niccolls (Chemistry) is applying mobile wireless computing to chemistry and biology instruction. She is facilitating use of hand-held spectrophotometers as an aid in field-based research and cross discipline learning.
Richard Grotegut (Computer Studies) leads an ongoing workgroup on developing wireless learning environments. Recently the group acquired and trained faculty on tablet PCs. Our new campus under construction in Newark will be a wireless campus.
Tina Mosleh (Economic) believes that student course success requires that faculty adopt multi-strategies. She is utilizing active learning, visual handouts, videos, web research, multi-media demonstrations, self-paced formats, and computer assisted instruction.
Tom Holcomb (Deaf Education) co-produced a 45 minute video entitled “See What I Mean: Differences between Deaf and Hearing Cultures.” His video is in use in ASL classes at Ohlone and throughout U.S. Tom is working with colleagues to investigate the effects of electronic communication with the interactions between diverse deaf and hearing communities. Electronic media are often seen as providing a level playing field for deaf people because their hearing status is not immediately disclosed and thus stereotyping may not occur, resulting in a more successful relationship between deaf and hearing individuals.
Some other important faculty achievements of note for 2004-05 include:
- A special award was given to Ohlone from VTEA for our nursing program and related counseling services.
- Kay Harrison was awarded the outstanding Faculty member in community colleges by the National Communication Association. Our outstanding Forensics Team showcased the talents of Ohlone at the national competitions and brought home a Gold team sweepstakes award in debate. Ohlone also won the Bronze Award in overall national forensic team sweepstakes.
- Cynthia Katona’s Book: Book Savvy, was published in May and she will be listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 2005 Edition. Paul Belasky published two papers in professional journals related to his geology field research in Russia, Ukraine and Greece.
- Ron Staszkow received the teaching excellence award from the California Mathematics Council. Mathematics students at Ohlone have competed in both California and nationally and this spring we were ranked seventh in the nation. Only one other California college was in the top ten nationally.
Goal 3 - Develop strategies to increase the proportion of full-time students including learning communities, cohort groups, enhanced facilities, and improved course availability.
The Title III project will greatly increase the number of learning communities and student cohorts in the years ahead. Several successful efforts this past year are pointing the way:
Tom Blank and Vicki Curtis stole the show at last Fall’s Faculty Flex meeting when they presented their learning community for ESL students and a theater class. This learning community was recognized in the spring when they presented at the national conference for the League of Innovation.
Linda Messia (Mathematics) has a learning community for basic skills math and counseling and is developing more support for self-paced math programs including study skills, overcoming math anxiety, and career application of math knowledge. Jennifer Harper (Counselor) created a student cohort strategy for online students, including an online personal development course.
As a transfer college the partnerships and agreements we have with universities are, of course, of paramount importance. Cal State East Bay faculty held collaborative meetings last year on our campus with Ohlone Faculty. Over 200 new course articulation agreements were completed with UC and CSU campuses, over 80 courses were added to the CSU transferable list and 22 new courses added to UC list. 10 new Ohlone courses were accepted to meet IGETC and another 10 accepted to meet CSU General Education.
Ohlone and Gallaudet University have developed a transfer articulation agreement. We have also added 6 new Associate degrees in the fields of Art , English, Business Administration, Exercise Science: Option in Athletic Training, Music and Computer Science. Compared to four years ago, Ohlone awarded 75% more associate degrees to our graduates.
A successful pilot project of a University Express cohort has shown the need to provide more course scheduling packages to full-time transfer oriented students. Cohort groups in ESL and basic skills are also showing good promise.
Playing a major role in supporting students is the Assessment Center which, under the leadership of Wayne Takakuwa, has expanded services through improved electronic testing and access. Instead of waiting 2 or 3 days for assessment results, students are going to have immediate feedback they can use with their counselor and proceed without delays through registration. New this past year were the kiosks in Building One for students to process registration. Web Advisor continued to be improved upon and the new this term automated Wait List is showing great results. As of today over 1,000 students have gone onto the list with 25% already placed in a course.
Scheduling courses in 9 and 15 week alternate formats proved to be very popular with students and these courses were first to fill in registration and had less cancellations than 18 week courses.
The thrust of Goal 3 was to support more full-time students, since so much of our enrollment is part-time. We saw significant progress toward this goal through the activities I have reported.
Goal 4 - Provide continuous learning for all personnel associated with the District and promote an organizational structure that is adaptable, collegial, and supportive of the Learning College Model.
The College Council, under the leadership of Dennis Keller, took positions regarding campus security, board policies, facilities development, budget and measurement of college goals. The Council also held public forums, developed by-laws and structure for shared governance.
The College Council formed special task forces this past year to support the monitoring and attainment of our major goals. The Learning College Task Force facilitated additional training programs and resources for both faculty and staff. An important area of training was in the development of learning outcomes, including a major workshop held yesterday. Accreditation standards and state accountability mandates are requiring community colleges to produce comprehensive systems assessing student learning outcomes that go beyond course grades, number of degrees, and certificates awarded. The work of the task force this past year and the faculty engaged in program reviews placed a high priority on assessment and learning outcomes. I am pleased to announce this year that work will be supported by Rob Smedfjeld who will serve in the President’s Office as Institutional Researcher.
The District went through several difficult months as the Classified Senate was dissolved and the CSEA and SEIU organizations came to the forefront to participate in shared governance in non-negotiated areas of consultation and staff involvement. The number of classified members of the College Council was increased from 3 to 4, while the other participating members remained at 6 faculty, 3 administrators and 2 students respectively. Our CSEA bargaining unit entered into negotiations with the district on creating more flexible job descriptions, classifications consolidation, and related opportunities for staff development. We appreciate the flexibility and cooperative attitude demonstrated by Linda Evers and the CSEA union in agreeing to work with us to streamline downward from nearly 100 different current staff job classifications.
Goal 5 - Promote the health, environmental, cultural and economic vitality of the communities served by the District through programs of outreach, community service, and partnership ventures.
Under the leadership of Leta Stagnaro and Bunny Klopping, The Task Force on Community Services conducted a survey and documented an impressive and broad array of activities in which the staff of Ohlone are engaged in helping the local community through volunteer service.
The District was successful in receiving funding for two economic development grants—one dealing with bio-technology industries and the other with environmental sustainability practices and programs at the college and in private industry.
Out of 100 entries throughout the nation, The Department of Labor selected the Bay Area Biotech Consortium, for which Ohlone College serves as lead educational institution, as the first place winner for the 2005 Recognition of Excellence Award, which was presented to Leta Stagnaro in Philadelphia. In the first year of a 2 year state grant, Ohlone is providing workshops for training incumbent employees from biotech companies in Hayward, Pleasanton, Fremont, Newark and San Jose. Over 25 companies now support Ohlone College student biotech interns. Ron Quinta presented the Ohlone bio-tech program at the American Association of Community Colleges conference in Boston.
Ohlone was also the recipient of a state grant for environmentally sustainable Business Development and our staff delivered 35 training events serving over 400 professionals in our district and state-wide. Bob LoBue leads our partnership with NUMI which continues to develop on-site classes, a new apprentice program, group leader training in ergonomics and project management workshops for 75 of their employees. Contracted training was provided last year to Alameda County Water, Alameda WIB, Abgenix, Borden Chemical, Cargill Salt, Lam Research, NUMMI, Owens Design and Cisco- India.
Sharlene Limon reports that In 2005 our Registered Nursing program received full national accreditation, the only Bay Area community college to do so. Ohlone had a NCLEX examination 100% pass rate. Partnership with Washington Hospital continues as well as new initiatives with Kaiser Health Care. Nursing courses were expanded to include required content on bio-terrorism-nuclear-chemical responses, as well a new elective course in leadership skills including community projects.
Sheryl Einfalt was approved by APTA as meeting standards for the physical therapy assistant program director strengthening Ohlone’s role as the sole provider of this training program in the area.
A seismograph with computer interface was acquired for geology and oceanography classes. For the first time Ohlone will have a seismic station to monitor activity in this area for the college and the community.
Ohlone College for Kids had a record year this summer with over 1,000 participants from grades 4 through 9. Class offerings included Lego Robotics, Electronics, Creative Writing, Journalism, American Sign-Language, Algebra, Speech, Drama, Rocks Geography, Cool Chemistry and the Ooey Gooey Laboratory.
Ending their ninth year of service to the community, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts had a banner year of plays and concerts, both those sponsored by Ohlone College and those offered by other groups in the community who share this wonderful venue. Chris Boris was successful in acquiring the chimes we now enjoy hearing from Smith Center and Walt Birkedahl worked with the Rotary Club to provide new aluminum seating in the amphitheater. For the second year, Trustee Garrett Yee arranged for the Army Band to give a wonderful 4th of July concert in the amphitheater to a standing room only crowd.
Goal 6 - Promote and maintain an accessible, clean, safe, and healthy college environment, through continuous engagement of students and college personnel in campus preparedness, wellness, beautification, universal design, and environmental sustainability.
2004-05 saw major steps taken in further development of the district’s facilities. The state-funded new Child Development Center opened its doors during spring semester. In May we broke ground for the new campus in Newark. This was an outstanding public event, followed by a gala celebration and launching of the Capital Campaign for the Newark Campus. The first stage of construction is underway and involves constructing roadways, bringing in utilities, grading and preparing for the buildings.
The Board also approved the revised Master Site Plan for the Fremont Campus. In conjunction with that process the Board declared 40 acres surplus property and authorized a Request for Proposals process to invite developers to bring forth plans for private development of the campus frontage and southern boundary. First consideration of the proposals will take place early next month. On Wednesday the Board approved the design of the new student services building. This will be an attractive and exciting addition to our campus. In the process of building design, student services staff and faculty were led by Ron Travenick to think of new ways to deliver services. We are fortunate that the architects we selected have specific expertise community college facilities for student services.
Other bond funded projects completed in 2004-05 included:
- Installation of 32 surveillance cameras monitored by campus police
- Replacement of remaining wooden stairs with concrete, refurbish wood railings, replace 150 exterior doors and install 11 ADA doors and 2ADA ramps.
This Fall we will see re-roofing and rain gutter rehabilitation and preparation for next summer when this Fremont campus will get a brand new coat of paint and weather proofing.
Earth Day 2005 was a major event at Ohlone this year with over 100 of our staff and student volunteers working with our grounds keeping staff to go over the entire Fremont campus in a campus beautification activity. I appreciate the cooperation of Zane Grey and SEIU in this endeavor and trust that we can make it an annual event.
Through grant funds we obtained the services of a San Francisco organization known as The Natural Step to conduct an environmental sustainability analysis for our college.
Just as we are providing training in the community for business and industry, we as an organization need a comprehensive program. The Natural Step report acknowledges that Ohlone is committed to building an integrated strategy for environmental education and responsibility. Specific steps are outlined for both near and longer term actions which we will incorporate into our strategic plan.
In the wake of terrorism as well as recognition of the natural hazards in this region, emergency preparedness training is important. The campus safety committee sponsored a preparedness workshop, a campus-wide drill, and a desk-top disaster event simulation. This coming year they plan to have a live major campus emergency event simulation involving agencies from throughout our county.
Ohlone was audited for ADA compliance and improvements. The resulting report showed good progress, a campus-wide awareness and goal recognizing ADA, and several additional actions the college is committed to regarding accessibility.
The task force on facilities received briefings on the design of the Newark facility for energy generation and efficiency as well as opportunities for energy alternatives at Fremont. The District is going forward with solar power generation in our Newark building and has launched a capital funds drive to provide matching funds. The District also received a grant for the Fremont campus recycling program which was initiated in the spring.
The revised master plan involves the upgrading or relocation and new construction of our Fremont campus athletic fields that is necessary for us to support our quality intercollegiate programs. This past year 22 Ohlone student athletes received partial or full scholarships to 4 year universities. An additional 20 students will transfer continuing their athletic program involvement. Over 20 Ohlone athletes were selected to the all conference, all state and or all regional teams. Women’s Swimming won its conference championship and Erin Morgan was voted California Community College swimmer of the year, setting a state record in the 100 yard breast stroke. For the third year in a row the Ohlone Softball team captured our conference championship and Coach Donna Runyon reached her 600 wins milestone.
In May the Gallaudet University Wild Zappers dance company performed as part of the Newark Gala, showcasing Ohlone’s ongoing partnership with Gallaudet and the deaf community locally and nationwide.
Goal 7 - Increase public and private funds for educational programs, equipment and facilities through entrepreneurial activities, grants, and the college foundation.
With the arrival of Executive Director Dr. Josephine Ong-Hawkins in February, has come a new vitality and increased visibility of the college Foundation through media, special fund raising events, and community outreach. The President’s Circle has garnered additional members and contributed to the chamber singers’ summer tour, excellence awards for art students, and the national competition in forensics. A total of $21,000 in new scholarships were awarded in addition to $ 50,000 in previously established scholarships $24,000 in special campus projects were funded, due in part to a successful employee giving campaign.
Given that Ohlone College had not previously engaged in a major way in pursuing external grants, 2004-05 has been a very successful year in grants development. I have made mention of several including over $2 million dollars in economic development and $2 million in Title III college development funds. You should know that there is very stiff national competition for Title III and only 28 out of over 1,000 community colleges got awards for this year. We have also been notified that we will receive $350,000 from the National Science Foundation, also a very competitive national grant program, to support our Latino outreach program in Newark schools. Specifically the grant will build a feeder program into our biotechnology major and more generally in science, engineering and math careers for underrepresented populations.
When the Board enters into agreements for sale or lease of surplus property, the income from those projects will go towards new parking lots, athletic fields, classroom and lab improvements, as well as future capital projects.
In the spring of 2004 we set forth the 7 goals upon which this update was based. These goals and the progress we are making to achieve them are resulting in a sustained and coordinated effort toward improving student success, institutional quality, and relevance.
I would like to now turn your attention to prospects for this new academic year, starting with the 2005-06 budget.
We received very good news last week regarding our budget for construction. Due to the District’s sound financial condition, high Standard and Poors rating and favorable interest rates, Ohlone college’s Measure A construction bonds were sold to the market at a high enough premium that all $110 million came to us in proceeds and all $1 million in financing costs were absorbed by the premium. Also over $4 million was returned to the taxpayers in early bonds retired.
Due to the drop in enrollment for Fall 2004, we did not reach the enrollment required for full funding of last year’s district budget. Even though Spring and Summer enrollments were adequate, last Fall semester fell short. The State has a policy referred to as one year stabilization funding which we will need to invoke. Basically the way it works is that we report a lower number than was needed to meet our base requirement. We then report the bulk of summer session enrollment to count for 2005-06 which gives us a cushion on meeting the minimum enrollment for this year and we incur no penalty for not making our enrollment last year—again we can do this only once. This year we will have to rebuild our enrollment the 2003-04 level to avoid penalties going forward. Most if not all of the Bay Area colleges are taking this approach to funding stabilization.
The budget for 2005-06 is favorable to community colleges. While we doubtless will not be able to take advantage of growth dollars that constitute one-third of the increases to the college system, never-the-less we will get a COLA to cover some salary increase and operating increased costs. We will build a conservative budget given the uncertain enrollment outlook.
This chart shows what the enrollment looks like: (chart)
(* 888 banked for 2005-06)
Enrollment of new students directly after graduating from high schools in our district actually took a turn upwards.
This chart shows major gains in enrollment of students directly from local high schools:
|High School||Enrolled||% Increase|
|Mission San Jose||159||38%|
The 40% fee hike that took place late in the summer was believed to be the primary factor in the lowered number of students, but head count enrollment has been declining since 2001.
This chart shows a comparison of Fall 2001and Fall 2004 Student Headcount by Unit Load:
We can see in this graph a drop of 800 students in the 3 or less credits category and a drop of 750 less in the category of 3 to 6 credits. Of course no (federal) financial aid is available to students with less than 6 credits.
This chart tracks students according to Enrollment Type:
Again using the 2001 baseline data, we see only a small drop in continuing and returning Ohlone students, which is our retention factor, and much greater gaps in first time with no previous college, and first-time transfer from another college.
Looking at enrollment by age group, we find a parallel drop across all age groups except over 50 looks fine and the 19-24 age cohort has less of a decline in head count. When we looked at State-wide FTES enrollment trends, we saw that there was a 2.3% drop in 2003 and also in 2004. 2005 is projected to reveal yet another drop state-wide.
The conclusion we have drawn from this data is that we are holding our own in our full-time traditional market of students pursuing college degrees, and in fact have made some further inroads in that group, but have lost considerable numbers of adults taking only one or two classes and perhaps also students shopping for courses from among different college choices in the Bay Area
We put several measures into place to assure that we would return to or exceed enrollment levels of 2003 when we opened this Fall. Despite our best efforts, unfortunately we are not seeing a return of the lost enrollments--- we are just holding steady with last year. This is not surprising now that we see the enrollment trends for Ohlone match the downward cycle of enrollment for all community colleges, in California and nationally.
The big question is the drop in Fall 2004 which seems to be repeating in Fall 2005 a blip or a more serious sign of a structural enrollment problem for community colleges? Some indicators of a structural problem in the enrollment of part-time adult learners include the following:
- Fall 2004 drop persists to 2005
- Unemployment rates in Fremont are 3.5% compared to 5% state
- Mix of industries and their employment and training needs is changing
- Fremont continues to move to a higher income, higher educated community
- Mounting Fees and Textbooks Expenses. Fee increases of 40% impact part-time students. Even more consequential than fees is the sharp increase in textbook costs. Combined the total cost of just one course seems to be driving many people away from our campuses.
However, we need to put the enrollment issue in perspective. We are running less than 300 full-time equivalent students behind our target to meet budget. If every Ohlone faculty member would be pro-active and seek out just one full-time student this Fall who might otherwise withdraw from college and offer their hand of special assistance, that collective action in itself would resolve the current budget uncertainty! A concerted Each One Reach One faculty effort would help a great deal this Fall.
Furthermore, we know historically community colleges are cyclical in their enrollment patterns. Several things we have been doing this year, or are planning for next year, are likely to bring the desired results. These include:
Academic Calendar. We need to be deciding early on the changes in our academic calendar that will make us more competitive. We know that we should start when the other community colleges do in the fall, which means at least a week later than current practice. This should be decided right away for 2006. We should bring closure to the compressed calendar study. We don’t have the luxury of continuing analysis. We need early this fall to say yea or nay to that proposal for the entire district. I believe it would significantly improve our enrollments and student success.
Internet Classes. This Fall the number of web-based sections in the class schedule has increased by about one-third. This is very much in keeping with the changing needs and preferences in our educational market place. All of the newly hired faculty this year and the past year agreed at the time of hiring to participate in developing either an internet-based class or new learning communities, or both. We need additional numbers of faculty to venture into these alternative learning strategies if we are going to remain highly competitive.
Larger summer sessions. In contrast to state-wide trends, Ohlone’s summer session is growing. We should plan on continued growth for summer where possible.
Registration Improvements. Our Web Advisor, kiosks and wait listing technologies are paying dividends. I encourage staff to continue to seek ways to improve service to enrolling students. For example not having people who stop-out after summer or for two semesters go through the admissions process all over again, when they are already in our data base.
Alliant International University Partnership. The doctoral studies cohort has presented to the Faculty Senate and the college administration a proposal for Alliant International University to partner with Ohlone and to offer bachelor’s degrees on our campuses. I am very much in favor of this proposal because I know there many students here who would be more successful if they could continue at Ohlone with the staff and supportive faculty and learning environment they already know than to uproot into another setting. We believe that an Alliant program started next Fall could attract 400-500 students as new Ohlone full-time freshmen and sophomores coming from other states and countries that we would not otherwise attract. In 2008-09, they would become Alliant juniors on the Ohlone Campus where we will have classrooms available the Newark move and Fremont campus upgrades. They are trying a pilot project this Fall with three courses in International studies. I went to Washington D.C. to discuss federal funding for this partnership and I received strong encouragement.
Title III grant improvements in student success and retention. We have put forth a number of improvements in our college practices which should yield measurable enrollment and program quality results in the next few years.
International Student Recruitment. U.S. Enrollments of foreign students dropped in 2004 for the first time in 30 years. Meanwhile, enrollments have been surging in England, Germany and other countries. Chinese applications to American graduate schools fell 45% this year, while several European countries announced surges in Chinese enrollment. Because of our vision and mission, Ohlone needs to counter this trend. This fall I will participate in a student recruitment conference for Pacific Rim countries and we will start a feeder program from Taizhou and Shanghai, China.
High School Programs. A Full-time Ohlone attendance option for local high school seniors is in full planning discussion and I hope it will be a reality for next fall. This joint program with Fremont, Newark, and Glen Haven school districts involves having some high school teachers on the Ohlone campus offering a few required subjects and the seniors filling out their schedule with college courses of their choice. This has proven successful elsewhere in the state. The NSF project and other high school outreach activities as well as the new Puente Program should yield positive enrollment results for full-time, underrepresented students.
Marketing Study. Not taking anything for granted is the most important principle of enrollment management. To adequately address the enrollment challenges we are facing, we will conduct an extensive marketing study this fall semester. This study will tell us how we are perceived in the community according to certain target groups of interest, what is our relative competitive position in the Bay Area compared with other colleges and universities, and most importantly what are the changing needs of the communities we serve regarding higher education and workforce training. Once the marketing study is conducted we can feel more confident in our roadmap for moving forward, including expanding to the new facilities in Newark in 2007.
What is happening at Ohlone is truly inspiring—the innovations and successes are real and well grounded in academic quality. The dedication to student success is so prevalent and genuine among the staff and the energy to reach out, to try new things, to develop teams to solve problems and explore new opportunities is so pervasive that Ohlone College truly stands out among your peers. Our Vision is Becoming Reality!
I am concluding my report where I started – the World Forum. I am pleased to announce the forums for this academic year:
- September - The Natural Step Approach to Global Environmental Sustainability
- November - The African Continent and World Hunger
- February - U.S. Policy Toward Israel and Palestine
- April - Weapons of Mass Destruction
I hope that all of you will make a special effort to attend and encourage your students to participate as well. Community members are also welcome.
In my view, our greatest challenge is not enrollment or budget or even teaching or staffing innovation. The greatest challenge for Ohlone lies in our willingness to engage with the broader society and to ask our students the hard questions that need to be asked if we are to be truly relevant to this generation.
When I was in Europe this summer I had lunch at a rotary meeting and one of the business men asked me: “Tell me, who in their right mind today would start a war without provocation?” The Iraq war is very much on the minds of Europeans and given their history one can see why they are especially sensitive to the subject. But the same holds true for other continents wherein warfare has been a continuous historical phenomena. But not in the USA. We start and conduct war now as if by remote control-- without direct consequence unless we have a family member serving in the military.
I believe that in our classrooms we have a responsibility to teach regarding options to solving conflicts without warfare. We need to teach about Iraq and Afghanistan. To actively question why we are really there. The $5 billion of the U.S. economy going to support that war every month is a misplaced priority of unprecedented proportion when you consider that every day 30,000 African children die of starvation and illness that is preventable for much less than the war cost. The best way for Western nations to win the war on terrorism is to wage a war on world hunger!
The book by Paul Love titled The Impossible Will Take a little While: A citizen’s guide to hope in a time of fear is a useful reference in this regard. In fact several universities are using it as a text. He writes:
Almost everywhere, I go I encounter people who question whether they should speak out and do their actions really matter. I’ve heard it from teachers, doctors and nurses. From 18 year old students and 80 year old grandmothers. We now have a culture which seems too often to reward cynicism and mocks idealism on the one hand or to view the asking of hard questions as unpatriotic on the other. (But) If tackling critical societal problems seems a fool’s errand, it’s only because we’re looking at life through too narrow a lens.
History shows that the proverbial rock can be rolled, if not to the top of the mountain, then at least to successive plateaus. And, more important, simply pushing the rock a little in the right direction is cause for celebration. History also shows that most major advances are in fact the result of many people taking small steps together over a period of time.
Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville and mother of a fallen soldier is camped outside the president’s ranch. She has single handedly started moving some members of Congress to speak out, and yesterday the President commented about her vigil. One voice does matter!
When fear of speaking out dictates what we say and do, democracy itself is imperiled.
The antidote to repression and fear of expression is hope: defiant, resilient, persistent hope, no matter what the odds against us may be.
As Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine writes: “Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change.” Hope is a way of life.
Those of us who attended the spring scholarship awards ceremony heard an Ohlone student tell how just 5 years ago he was just eaking out an existent in a small village in Afghanistan. “Never in my wildest imagination”, he said, “did I believe I would be on this stage getting a scholarship to a university and about to graduate from a U.S. college. But Ohlone has given me this opportunity. Ohlone gave me the hope and now I know I can and will have a good and blessed life.
We need to profess hope and to do so we must directly engage hopelessness. I do not believe that war will set mankind free. I believe the scripture “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
In that spirit I dedicate this state of the college address and close with this poem by Seamus Heaney:
Human beings suffer, they torture one another, they get hurt and get hard. No poem or play or song can fully right a wrong inflicted and endured. History says; don’t hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme. So hope for a great sea-change on the far side of revenge. Believe that a further shore is reachable from here. Believe in miracles and cures and healing wells… If there’s fire on the mountain or lightning and storm and a god speaks from the sky, that means someone is hearing the outcry and the birth-cry- of new life at its term…